Downtown South Bend is a unique place to visit. As the cultural, economic, and civic heart of Northern Indiana, downtown South Bend features dozens of places to peruse, dine, and simply admire — from quaint shops to restaurants, bars, cafés, museums, concert venues, and even a 5,000 seat baseball stadium.
And then there is the beautiful St. Joseph River, which snakes majestically along the downtown riverfront from Howard Park to Leeper Park. The river divides downtown between a high-rise-filled western central business district and a mostly low-rise East Bank neighborhood which is quickly burgeoning into one of the hottest real estate markets in the region. The river also serves as an outdoor playground for adults, who can kayak or raft down the East Race, a man-made white water rafting course. Or you may simply choose to bike down one of downtown South Bend’s bike paths.
Just as impressive as the landscape is the architecture. For a city of its size (just over one-hundred thousand), South Bend boasts a large number of high and medium rise buildings. Some of these buildings date back nearly a century and look similar to the construction that you would see in places like Chicago. Others have a more modern design, such as South Bend’s tallest building — the Chase Tower — which is twenty-five floors and 332 feet tall.
There is almost always something going on in and around downtown throughout the year, especially during the spring, summer and fall months. Outdoor concerts take place every week as part of Fridays by the Fountain. Free outdoor concerts also occur at Seitz Park along the river. Art Beat takes place in the streets of downtown in August, while the Leeper Park Art Festival is held in June. First Fridays are a series of themed events on the first Friday of every month. Local businesses often join in the festivities and offer discounts on their food and wares.
We at the South Bend Voice love downtown South Bend. It is a true gem in our community. Thankfully, the future is looking bright. We are excited to see it coming back to life with new investments taking place throughout the downtown area. The positive momentum will hopefully continue to encourage smart growth while preserving our historic roots.
Rediscovering South Bend is a series that highlights hidden treasures in our community. The South Bend Voice is committed to civic and multi-cultural learning. The city’s rich history provides ample opportunity to uncover our past and look forward to a promising future. The first part in the series looked at Island Park at Century Center.